Jonathan Hodgkin graduated from Oxford in 1971 and then did a PhD with Sydney Brenner at MRC LMB in Cambridge, studying behavioural genetics in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Later, after a couple of years working with myxobacteria as a postdoc in Dale Kaiser''s lab at Stanford, he returned to LMB as a staff member, where he remained for most of the subsequent two decades. In the year 2000, he moved to Oxford as Professor of Genetics in the Department of Biochemistry, switching his major research interests from developmental genetics and sex determination to the study of host-pathogen interactions in the worm. For the past ten years, he has acted as curator of the C. elegans genetic map and gene nomenclature, and he is currently President of the Genetics Society of Great Britain.
David Weinkove is an associate professor at Durham University, UK, studying host-microbe interactions in the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans. David has been focusing on the way microbes affect the physiology of their hosts, including the process of aging. In this interview, he discusses the questions shaping his research, how they evolved over the years, and his guiding principles for leading a lab.
THE Genetics Society of America's Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal is awarded to an individual GSA member for lifetime achievement in the field of genetics. The 2014 recipient is Frederick Ausubel, whose 40-year career has centered on host-microbe interactions and host innate immunity. He is widely recognized as a key scientist responsible for establishing the modern postrecombinant DNA field of host-microbe interactions using simple nonvertebrate hosts. He has used genetic approaches to conduct pioneering work that spawned six related areas of research: the evolution and regulation of Rhizobium genes involved in symbiotic nitrogen fixation; the regulation of Rhizobium genes by two-component regulatory systems involving histidine kinases; the establishment of Arabidopsis thaliana as a worldwide model system; the identification of a large family of plant disease resistance genes; the identification of so-called multi-host bacterial pathogens; and the demonstration that Caenorhabditis elegans has an evolutionarily conserved innate immune system that shares features of both plant and mammalian immunity.